Charles Edwin Lewis Green (1844-1915)

Charles Edwin Lewis Green (1844-1915)

A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, C. E. L. Green became one of the founders of the Lynn Beach School of painters, active from 1882-1897 on the North Shore of Massachusetts.  Alongside fellow artists Edward Burrill (1835-1913), William Burpee (1846-1940), T. Clark Oliver (1827-1892), Edward Page (1850-1928) and Charles Woodbury (1864-1940), Green was instrumental in developing a unique style of regional Impressionism.  

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Green had started out as a businessman and did not begin to paint professionally until after the death of his father in 1881. By 1883, he had a studio on School Street in Boston and held his first exhibition at the Boston Art Club.  Primarily self taught, Green’s work was greatly affected by a brief trip to Europe in 1889, where he discovered the coastal artist colony of Newlyn in Cornwall, England, and was introduced to the en plein air techniques made popular by the French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage.  Like Bastien-Lepage, the artists of Newlyn emphasized working in the open air and painting the daily activities of the village people.  Even after his return to Lynn in 1890, Green continued to work in this manner and became well known for his active shoreline scenes and landscapes portraying his interest in light and atmospheric conditions.   

The influence of French Impressionism was not only felt by Green, but by all of the Lynn Beach Painters, as foreign works appeared in the local galleries and exhibitions.  Unfortunately, the group faltered around the turn of the century, when the picturesque coastline of Lynn was defaced by modern developments. Green continued to work both in watercolor and oil, and exhibited often at the Boston Art Club from 1882 until 1907. Even during his trips abroad, he maintained a presence in Boston, exhibiting at the St. Botolph Club and the Eastman Chase Gallery.  He was also an active member of the Paint and Clay Club and showed at the Lynn Art Club.  While he developed a local group of loyal patrons, his works were also collected by such figures as Martin Brimmer, the first president of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and by the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes.

References: Frederick Alan Sharf and John Hardy Wright, C.E.L Green: Shore and Landscape Painter Of Lynn and Newlyn. (Salem: Essex Institute, 1980); Janice H. Chadbourne, Karl Gabosh and Charles O. Vogel, The Boston Art Club Exhibition Record 1873-1909 (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1991); Falk, Who Was Who In American Art (1999).; Rolf H. Kristiansen and John J. Leahy, Rediscovering Some New England Artists 1875-1900 (Dedham, MA: Gardner-O’Brien, 1987). 

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